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  • L’#Azerbaïdjan a mis la main sur des ressources en eau stratégiques dans le #Haut-Karabakh

    La récupération des deux tiers du Haut-Karabakh au terme de la récente guerre contre l’#Arménie a permis à l’Azerbaïdjan de reprendre le contrôle des ressources en #eau de cette région. Les autorités d’Arménie et du Haut-Karabakh, sentant la sécurité de leur approvisionnement en eau menacée, tirent la sonnette d’alarme.

    • Le contrôle du grand réservoir de Särsäng, au nord du Karabakh occupé a été pendant 30 ans un enjeu stratégique entre l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan, ce réservoir (dont le débit a été réduit au minimum) servant, au temps de l’URSS a irriguer des centaines de milliers d’hectares de cultures dans la plaine azerbaïdjanaise en contrebas. Inauguré par Brejnev dans les années 1970... :

    • Je retrouve d’ailleurs dans mes archives quelques informations intéressantes :

      The Sarsang-Terter Hydrological Complex

      As a consequence of the conflict the territories East of the foothills of Nagorno-Karabakh have been cut off from water supply from the mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh, notably from the Sarsang water reservoir. The Sarsang water reservoir was put into commission in 1976. According to the report to the Mission provided by Azerbaijan the capacity of the reservoir amounts to 565 million cubic meters. Prior to the conflict the reservoir used to provide water for irrigation of 100,000 hectares of lands both in currently occupied as well as in the adjacent regions. The majority of the irrigation infrastructure was either destroyed during the fighting or degraded in the years after the military operations.

      Before the armed conflict the irrigation canals were used for water collection for fire-suppression and served also as natural barriers for fire expansion. As mentioned above the degradation of water canals and the overall desiccation of the lowlands around the LoC allowed spotting fires to cross empty irrigation canals (see photographic documentation in Annex V).

      The need for the reconstruction of the water supply system in the region around the LoC has been discussed during the Mission. It is obvious that all parties would benefit from a restored water supply system. From the point of view of the prevention of wildfire spread and fire suppression a restored irrigation system with functioning infrastructures and the restoration of artesian wells would greatly improve the situation. The representatives of Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh both underscored the willingness for cooperation in this regards.

      While these observations from the OSCE-lead fire assessment mission to Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh in October 2006 point at a classical upland - lowland water sharing issue aggravated by conflict, unfiltered comments coming directly from the parties show an even grimmer picture of conflicting interests and accusations:

      ’The Armenian side blocks the water reservoir when our other provinces are badly in need of irrigation but open it in summer and the nearby villages are flooded, especially in the raining seasons. Besides, Armenians pollute the Agstafa-chay river very strongly’, Minister Baghirov remarked.

      (Economic News Bulletin, No. 31 2004, Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Vienna, quoting Minister of Ecology Baghirov of Azerbaijan)

    • Et cette archive de la position azerbaïdjanaise, confidentielle à l’époque, provenant d’une mission commune AZ ARM :

      Annex: Document provided to the Mission by Azerbaijan

      Presentation on the melioration and hydro-infrastructure
      installations in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan
      Occupation of the Azerbaijani territories have inflicted a grave damage upon melioration and hydroinfrastructure of these areas, which are of a great importance for the economy of Azerbaijan.

      The following infrastructure sites are located in the occupied territories:
      – 6 426 km-long canals, which were used for irrigation of 130 000 hectares of lands
      – 16 main installations
      – 539 hydro-technical installations
      – 22 hydro-posts
      – 88 pumping stations
      – 185 km-long collector and drain network
      – 8 water reservoirs with total volume of approximately 640 million cubic meters

      The total cost of the melioration and hydro-infrastructure in the occupied territories amounts to 110
      milion new Azerbaijani manats. Majority of this infrastructure sites were either destroyed during
      fighting or ruined due to the lack of proper technical service in the years after the occupation.
      The damage caused by the occupation of these installations cannot be limited to the occupied zones
      only. Prior to the occupation the Sarsang water reservoir used to provide water for irrigation of
      100 000 hectares of lands both in currently occupied as well as in the adjacent regions. Some 600-700
      million cubic meters of water used to be taken from the Sarsang reservoir to irrigate forests and lands,
      where cotton, tobacco, grain and fodder crops, multiyear crops were cultivated. The Sarsang water
      reservoir was put into commission in 1976. Its capacity amounts to 565 million cubic meters.
      Because of the occupation of the Sarsang reservoir (together with the 50 megawatt hydro power
      plant), the Madagiz hydro installation (capacity of 5.9 million cubic meters) on the Terterchay river and the 80-km long part of the Terter right and left main canals more than 60 000 hectares of lands in
      Terter, Barda, Agdam (not occupied part), Goranboy, Yevlakh and Agjabedi have not been receiving
      water for irrigation for many years now. This gravely affects the economy of these regions. The
      forestry has been completely destroyed because of lack of water.

      The Armenian side intentionally pours off great volumes of water out of the Sarsang water reservoir in
      autumn-winter period, mostly at night. This causes a danger of flooding for the cities and villages of
      Terter and Barda regions, which are located in lower areas in comparison to Sarsang, and keeps the
      population in constant fear. This practice results in flooding of localities and thousands of hectares of
      agricultural lands in these regions. On the other hand, when need of water for the agricultural
      purposes increases in summer season the practice of pouring water off ceases.

      The Sarsang water reservoir has the highest dam in Azerbaijan (125 m). However, it has not had a
      proper technical service for many years and therefore represents a real danger for 400 000 people
      living in lower areas, where the water could suddenly flow.

      In 2000 the OSCE put forward an initiative to provide technical services to the Sarsang water reservoir
      and use its water resources. However, until this day no relevant conditions were created for study of
      the present condition of this reservoir.

      The massive fires taking place in the occupied territories constitute a great danger for the
      environmental system of these and other areas of Azerbaijan. These fires destroy the vegetation cover
      of lands and disrupt the natural process of water transformation. This causes inter alia a lack of water
      and degradation of soil. It is necessary to take urgent measures address these negative processes
      and to prevent their long-term grave implications.